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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Loud Quiet

Since you mention questions can be asked in the comments section, I have a question I need to ask, please. I teach faith formation in our church, and the kids in my class are getting confirmed this year. We were talking about patron saints, and suggested that the kids choose someone that they have an affinity with -- maybe a saint shares their weaknesses or strengths or interests. One girl asked me for suggestions for a patron saint of shyness. Searching on the internet I found references to St. Dymphna, but I'm not sure I want to recommend her. It seems like a lot of the saints lived quiet, holy lives. Can you recommend someone nice for this nice little girl? Thank you for your wonderful blog.

You're welcome. And thank you for the wonderful work you do!

No, poor St. Dymphna and her crazy father is not the way to go for shyness.

St. Rosalia springs to mind. She went off to live an cave. Apparently no one gave her another thought. She moved from her original cave to another cave. Still no one came by for a visit. She wanted to be away from everyone, so it worked out well for her. No one noticed when the years passed and no one heard from her. Gone and forgotten.

At some point, the new cave caved in on her and that was that. No one knew. Until years later some men were excavating her last cave and found her remains. "Oh yeah," they finally said, "this is that Rosalia who went off to live in a cave. We forgot about her."  They took her remains back to town. The town was suffering from a terrible plague and when Rosalia finally came home, she cured everyone.

Perhaps this isn't a great story for an eighth grade girl who is shy.

How about St. Therese, the Little Flower? We think of her as this great saint. We know everything about her. We have her hair in a glass case and all her things from before she was a nun. She is a Doctor of the Church. Only three women hold that title and all three were declared Doctors of the Church only in recent years. Her book, "The Story of a Soul" sealed that deal.

But the truth is, when little Therese died at age 24, the nuns fretted because they couldn't think of anything to say about her. It's a little embarrassing when you can't think of a eulogy.

"She washed the dishes well." The end. Let's eat.

She had lived a life of quiet prayer and contemplation, completely undistinguished. She is the patron saint of missionaries because she wanted to be one. She never went anywhere in her life. She is also the patron saint of airline pilots. I think that was supposed to be a little joke.

But she left behind the story of what it means to be in harmony with God. Very big stuff.

And she was cute as a button.


Melissa said...

FOUR women doctors of the church, Sister. Don't forget St. Hildegard of Bingham.

Sister Mary Martha said...

Oh my goodness! I DID forget her! I even wrote a blog about her when she was made a Doctor of the Church.

Good catch!

The Saint of the Day is St. Ignatius of Antioch who coined the term "catholic" when talkinga about the new Christian faith. So, in feet: many, many.

Paige said...

I love St. Therese as much as the next person (whose confirmation Saint name is Theresa). But I always read her as being particularly precocious (with climing into the Pope's lap and all). However, she might help the shy little girl come out of her shell a bit.

Anonymous said...

"She never went anywhere in her life" except Rome to speak to the pope. I've never been there or done that.

Katie said...

Virgin sisters and Bl. John Paul II.

Sister, my poor son has a devil of a temper--old-style irascible, this kid, and it gets the better of him all the time. Emotions just bubbling up everywhere all over the place. Now we have (along with appropriate disciplines) instructed him to ask his patron saint (Stephen) and guardian angel to pray for him, but are there any saints for a hot temper? Or perhaps better, one who was calm, collected and measured in all things? He needs some heavenly intervention.